Canadian federal election, 1962
election_name = Canadian federal election, 1962
country = Canada
type = parliamentary
previous_election = Canadian federal election, 1958
previous_year = 1958
next_election = Canadian federal election, 1963
next_year = 1963
seats_for_election = 265 seats in the
25th Canadian Parliament
June 18, 1962
next_mps = 26th Canadian Parliament
previous_mps = 24th Canadian Parliament
party1 =Progressive Conservative Party of Canada
leaders_seat1 =Prince Albert
Lester B. Pearson
party2 =Liberal Party of Canada
Robert N. Thompson
party4 =Social Credit Party of Canada
leaders_seat4 =Red Deer
party5 =New Democratic Party
title = PM
before_party = Progressive Conservative Party of Canada
after_party = Progressive Conservative Party of Canada
The Canadian federal election of 1962 was held on June 18, 1962 to elect members of the
Canadian House of Commonsof the 25th Parliament of Canada. When the election was called, the Progressive Conservative Party of Canadaof Prime Minister John George Diefenbakerhad governed for four years with the largest majority in the House of Commons in Canadian history. The Diefenbaker government had introduced reforms to social programs, a Canadian Bill of Rights, and other changes.
This election reduced the
Toriesto a tenuous minority governmentas a result of economic difficulties such as high unemploymentand a slumping Canadian dollar, as well as unpopular decisions such as the cancellation of the Avro Arrow. Despite the Diefenbaker government's difficulties, the Liberal Party, led by Lester Pearson, was unable to make up enough ground in the election to defeat the government.
The Liberals campaigned under the slogan, "Take a stand for tomorrow", and attempted to portray the Diefenbaker government as "feeble", with a divided cabinet. The Liberals criticized the PCs for their "reckless mismanagement of finances", the slowdown in the Canadian economy, a lack of confidence in government policies, job losses, and a lower standard of living than in 1956. The Liberals also argued that the steep devaluation in the Canadian dollar was increasing the cost of living for Canadians.
The PCs tried to defend the decline in the Canadian dollar by pointing out the benefits to the tourism industry, exports, manufacturing and farming, and employment. They denied that the devaluation had an impact on the price of bread, beef, gasoline and fruit and vegetables, saying that these prices were either set in Canada or were influenced by other factors.
The 1962 election was the first contested by the social democratic
New Democratic Party, which had been formed from an alliance between the old Co-operative Commonwealth Federation(CCF) and the Canadian Labour Congress. The party chose longtime Premier of Saskatchewan Tommy Douglasas its first leader. The new party was able to recover ground lost by the CCF in the 1958 federal election, when it was nearly wiped out. It won almost 50% more votes than the CCF had ever managed, but it failed to achieve the major breakthrough that had been hoped for when the party was created.
Douglas failed to win his own seat in the province of
Saskatchewan, and the NDP was shut out in this province, which was its political base. Douglas's campaign was hurt by chaos in Saskatchewan brought about by the introduction of Medicare and a resulting strike by the province's doctors. Douglas was forced to enter the House of Commons through a by-electionin British Columbia. Despite the initial problems, medicare proved popular, spread throughout the country, and is considered the NDP's (and Douglas') major contribution to the Canadian social fabric.
Social Credit returned to the House of Commons after being shut out in the 1958 election. While leader
Robert N. Thompsonand three other Socreds were elected in the party's traditional base in western Canada, the party's real success came in Quebec. Réal Caouetteled the party's Quebec wing to victory in 26 ridings.
For the first time ever, the entire land mass of Canada was covered by federal electoral districts (the former Mackenzie River riding was expanded to cover the entire
Northwest Territories), and Canadian Indians and Inuit (Eskimo) could all vote for the first time.
Voter turn-out: 79.0%
*Party did not nominate candidates in previous election.
x - less than 0.005% of the popular vote.
1 compared to
Labour Progressive Partyresults from previous election.
Results by province
xx - less than 0.05% of the popular vote
25th Canadian Parliament
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